This is, in fact, the first year that one of the five Bowl Championship Series (BCS) conferences has failed to get a team into the preseason poll.
SEC (5) — No. 1 Florida No. 5 Alabama No. 9 LSU No. 10 Ole Miss No. 13 Georgia Big 12 (4) — No. 2 Texas No. 3 OU No. 11 Oklahoma State No. 22 Nebraska Pac 10 (4) — No. 4 USC No. 12 California No. 14 Oregon No. 25 Oregon State ACC (4) — No. 7 Virginia Tech No. 15 Georgia Tech No. 19 Florida State No. 20 North Carolina MWC (3) — No. 17 TCU No. 18 Utah No. 24 BYU WAC (1) — No. 16 Boise State Independent (1)—No. 23 Notre DamePreseason Top 5:
No. 5 Alabama
The Crimson Tide got walloped in the Sugar Bowl by Utah, so there's a sour taste in their mouth. But they must avenge themselves without last year's starting quarterback John Parker Wilson, who graduated. Nevertheless, they return a ton of talent offensively in wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Mark Ingram, and the defense will be stacked as always. The Tide open up their season playing host to No. 7 Virginia Tech.
No. 4 USC
Out Mark Sanchez. In either Aaron Corp, Matt Barkley or Arkansas-transfer Mitch Mustain. Likely, the nod will be given to Corp to join veterans, running back Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson, as well as wide receiver Damian Williams. Pete Carroll will have his club ready to win the Pac 10 like usual and right in the thick of the BCS Championship conversation.
No. 3 OU
Obviously, the biggest question for outsiders is the offensive line. But with a returning Heisman Trophy-winner at quarterback, as well as a duo of 1,000-yard rushers from a year ago in Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray, and a talented receiving corps, the Sooners should be able to work through any problems in the early weeks, if they can hold off the BYU Cougars. Then it's all eyes ahead to Oct. 17, the big matchup in Dallas.
No. 2 Texas
Quarterback Colt McCoy and the rest of the Longhorns are equally anticipating that Oct. 17 matchup and hope that this time a victory could actually put them in the Big 12 Championship. But if both teams remain undefeated prior to the meeting, the Longhorns will carry most of the pressure as the favorite into the contest. Until then, they must take care of business to ensure that all the chips are on the table.
No. 1 Florida
Last year's national champion returns its entire defense, as well as a quarterback in Tim Tebow that has won not only a national championship, but also a Heisman Trophy. With all their talent, the Gators should be able to take care of business and be the team to beat heading into the BCS National Championship Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. in early January.